It’s easy, in a job like mine, to focus on the negative. I won’t apologize for it—a critical news media is vital to a healthy democracy—but it gets tiring sometimes. I look around the city and I feel like all I can see are problems that need solving. But now, summer is upon us and this is when Halifax is at its sweetest. So this month, I’m stepping back from the problems and, in no particular order, sharing a few of my favourite things.
The students. Yes, those whippersnappers make South End homeowners crazy and they do the darnedest things (remember the Dal Dentistry “gentlemen?”), but they also bring a much-needed surge of vitality and new ideas into the city. Imagine what our arts and music scenes would be like without them.
Craft beer. “Man likes beer” isn’t exactly breaking news, but after decades of thinking Keith’s was as good as Nova Scotian beer would get, we have one heck of a thriving craft-beer industry here. Craft-brew veterans like Garrison and Propeller stand with relative newcomers like North. The craft brewers all have a few great things in common, too: they all seem to be trying to be environmentally responsible, they support local suppliers and they’re creating brews that stand with the country’s best.
Symphony Nova Scotia. Last month, they wrapped up another busy season and I can’t wait for the next one to start. Have you seen that lineup? Two shows with local hip-hop master Buck 65, a Sci-Fi Symphony for Hal-Con, Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, a tribute to Queen, Mozart’s Requiem. I say without hyperbole: if I had the means, I would go to every concert on the calendar twice.
The harbour ferries. I tee off on Halifax Transit a lot (and again, no apologies: they usually have it coming) but I love those ferries. I love that you can experience this magnificent view of our Harbour for $2.25. I love that it’s so easy to leave a car behind and zip over to Alderney Landing for a concert or to visit the market.
OK honestly, I love the whole damn harbour. I love that I live in a city where the ocean is an important and working part of our lives. Sitting in Point Pleasant Park, listening to music and watching the ships go by is one of my favourite things about summer. I find it endlessly diverting to stare at those ships, wondering what stories the crew have to tell, where they come from, where they’re going next.
The writers. I haven’t made a study of it, but per capita, Halifax must have one of the largest populations of writers in the country. So many good books come from here. And that’s very good for Halifax Magazine. Our stable of freelance writers includes many published authors: Shannon Webb-Campbell (Still No Word), Jon Tattrie (Day Trips From Halifax), Marjorie Simmins (Coastal Lives), Chris Benjamin (Indian School Road).
Halifax Public Gardens. Once upon a time, my walk to work led me through the Gardens daily. Every day, I hurried along its paths, thinking about supper or pondering work. Now, my home and office have moved, and I have to make a point of visiting the Gardens. Every time I do, I wander around agape, marvelling at its splendour and wondering why I didn’t appreciate it more back then.
I could go on… There’s a lot to love about this city. What are your favourite things? Email or contact us on social media to share.